June 13, 2008 Subject:
Historically close eye de-romanticizes the Victorians
A nice fashion compilation and history, with the added fillip that the author sees it from a point of view before WW1: done with hoops and bustles, and ready to call out Mamma and Grandmama for the silly and ugly that they wore, as well as what was charming, rather as we would the Sixties and the Eighties. As he points out, however ugly a fashion, it is considered beautiful as long as it is the fashion. There are a lot of black and white illustrations from the original fashion plates, but the black and white pdf shows them badly. Sometimes it looks like dark areas have been purposely cut out (unusual for University of Toronto scans, which are usually the best). Skip the b&w for the full pdf, as the main reason to get that, rather than machete'ing through the uncorrected txt, is to see the plates. He covers topics I have found nowhere else (and I became a professional costumer decades ago): the exact history of the straw hat in fashion, from Dunstable to London and thence to Paris; the question of where the "bal de victimes" took place (making it look like it might be an Urban Legend); the precise times of the coming and going of chemises and corsets, &c.